Thesis subject

Promoting group gardening via a smart garden bed for active aging (BSc / MSc)

The provision of green spaces is an important health promotion strategy to encourage physical activity and to improve mental health for older adults and all citizens.

Short description

The provision of green spaces is an important health promotion strategy to encourage physical activity and to improve mental health for older adults and all citizens. Among which, community gardening is gaining popularity as an effective way for addressing socio-ecological determinants of health.
Group gardening has many benefits for people, particularly for older adults; for example, it has a positive effect toward lowering dementia risk, older adults also indicated that community gardens helps them with engaging in physical activities, creating social connections, building sense of accomplishment, relieving stress, producing fresh food, creating environmental justice, and reminiscing (if the garden experience was part of their family upbringing). However, older adults also experience barriers of participating in community gardens, such as: chronic health conditions, perceived lack of support from other members and the government, perceived lack of respect from others, clashes of opinions, theft and vandalism. 
A raised garden bed reduces the physical burden for older adults during gardening and offers physical space to embed technologies that can address the other barriers in group gardening as mentioned above. In this INF project, you will also collaborate with academics from TU/e and UU to design a concept for a smart raised garden bed and evaluate its impact in consultation with a group of older adults as end users.


Objectives

  1. To conduct a background investigation into smart garden beds / gardening for active aging
  2. To develop a concept for a smart garden bed that could address the barriers mentioned above by incorporating appropriate technologies on the raised garden bed
  3. To insightful data on its usage and create a dashboard to present these data to researchers for evaluating its effect on group gardening activities in older adults; 4.Create an open-source file and an instruction booklet to guide citizens build smart garden bed by themselves

    Tasks

    The work in this thesis entails:

    • Participate in an interdisciplinary hackathon on designing the smart garden bed at a Senior Centre in Eindhoven, in where you will meet students from Built Environment, Industrial Design, and Public health as well as older adults (end users of your design)
    • Develop a concept or prototype for the smart garden bed that meets the objectives of this project
    • Pilot test the smart garden bed to ensure the dashboard could represent reliable data on its usage


    Literature


    Requirements

    • Courses: (Optional) Programming in Python (INF-22306), Data Science Concepts (INF-34306)
    • Required skills/knowledge:

      Key words: Active aging, Prototyping, Data Science

      Contact person(s)

      Dr. Will Hurst (will.hurst@wur.nl)